Jessica Dils: Life behind the lens

By Daniel Maron
Hebrew Academy

It was a picture taken on a plane ride that turned a hobby into a passion for Jessica Dils.

During a flight back from a family vacation while in ninth grade, Jessica snapped a photo of the sky from her seat. When she later shared the photo with her friends and family on Facebook, her mother commented how beautiful the photograph was and recommend that she submit the picture into a photography contest. She did, and she hasn’t looked back.

“I love taking photographs because of stories they can tell and the memories they preserve,” said Dils, 17.

Jessica credits her photography teacher, Ms. Bussewitz, or as she calls her, “Ms. B,” with encouraging her to follow her goals and aspirations. “She is one of the best teachers at my school,” Jessica said. “She has encouraged me to apply for this program and I feel like she really cares about me and my success.”

An avid photographer who enjoys taking photos of pristine landscapes, Jessica aspires to one day become a photographer with the National Geographic Society. She says her camera of choice is her Nikon D-SLR because of “its high resolution and quality.”

Jessica said she hopes to broaden her horizons in the future by traveling around the world, and learning about new cultures.

“I hope to acquire wisdom that you can only receive by travelling,” she said. “I want to meet new people and try new things.”

She does say, however, that Coram, New York will always be home to her. “It’s where my family and friends are,” she said. “It’s where I feel loved.”

A proud member of Longwood High School’s bowling team, yearbook committee and National Honor Society, Jessica has received an honorable mention from the South Bay Art Association and has successfully sold photographs from her portfolio.

Her time on the bowling team has been a great experience for Jessica. “My favorite part about bowling is the team,” she said. “We always have a great time together, even when we lose matches.”

She said she values the bond that exists among her teammates. “They all really care about the team and would put the team first before themselves,” she said.

Jessica’s photography is inspired by some well regarded artists. “I plan to accomplish many of things that my role models, George Eastman and Ansel Adams, accomplished,” Jessica said.

Jessica has taken classes at the International Center of Photography in New York City where she focused on color film photography. “ICP has given me the chance to improve my photography skills and learn many new things,” Jessica said. “It has become a second home to me.”

She said she enjoys spending her free time with her family and participating in outdoor activities including bike riding and kayaking. “Kayaking is relaxing and gives me decompression time with my family and my dog, Good Girl,” Jessica said.

The Robert W. Greene Summer Institute for High School Journalists presents Jessica with a great opportunity to develop her photography skills and abilities. In search of enhancing her story telling abilities through photography, Jessica hopes to bring truth to the claim that a picture is really worth thousand words.

“I hope to make new friends, learn new skills, and a have a real experience as a reporter,” she said. “I have a feeling that the program will be a life-changing experience that will inspire me to pursue journalism.”